Last month, Nick Divito at Courthouse News reported that:
A federal judge approved an $855,000 settlement of a class action accusing D.C. police of failing to return cash seized from suspects it then failed to prosecute.
Anthony Hardy and Donnell Monts brought the lawsuit in June 2009, challenging the district's "Forfeiture Statute," which allows police to seize all cash "allegedly related to a violation of the Controlled Substances Act."
The statute also requires the mayor of Washington, D.C., to give notice by certified mail. To retrieve their money, affected individuals must file a claim within 30 days. The district meanwhile has up to a year to file the civil forfeiture action.
Hardy $127 in cash was taken from him after his arrest in December 2006, while Monts said police seized $823 in cash from him after his July 2006 arrest.
The district allegedly "never provided notice of forfeiture of the money seized, nor brought a forfeiture proceeding within one year."
The opinion by District Judge Christopher Cooper (an Obama appointee) notes that claims administrators processed claims for 14% of the roughly 9759 class members affected by DC property seizure and forfeiture during this time period. Class members fell into two classes: failed notice, where the DC Metropolitan Police Department failed to send a notice of asset forfeiture outright, and jailed notice, where the individual was in MPD custody and unable to receive a mailed notice at their place of residence. This racket allowed the DC MPD to pull in $2,968,634 in asset forfeiture from the entire class of 9759 members; subtracting the value of the settlement, the DC MPD still clears over $2 million in illegally garnered forfeiture proceeds.